I would describe my recent discovery of Zubin Damania as stimulating and empowering. My daughter described it as a “man-crush.” Whatever. It takes about a half a minute (which admittedly is 2x standard internet attention span) to pop the top on the genius contained in the satirical videos relating to the various issues in healthcare (my current fave being this Hamilton / Pharma sketch). Here is an internist – you know, a generic doctor – that can put together a video which not only gets my wife rapping along (she never asks me to play guitar for her, WTF?) but also nails laboratory issues like a closet pathologist (there is a part of me that worries he would be better at my job than I am). And if you take the time to actually listen to what he has to say (which I did last night with such enthusiasm I completely neglected to even ask my daughter how the first run of the school play went…I am sure it was fine) you get an appreciation of the depth of the intelligence and wisdom combined with a level of empathy that seems almost non-existent today. Give me a hell yeah!
In comparing our philosophies on the current healthcare debacle, it is like hearing someone describe my interpretation of a movie, but using completely different adjectives and phrases. I just want to blurt out, “Exactly! That’s what I have been trying to say!” His “Healthcare 1.0” is the old style, family doc centered model that has been replaced by our current fee-for-service, push-the-buttons-for-reward “Healthcare 2.0” system. And now we are trying desperately to shape a new and better process, one that reorganizes the implementation of our assets with a common goal of helping people stay healthy, “Healthcare 3.0.” Somebody gets it!
What is even better is that we are working in completely different, arguably polar opposite spheres: he is in Las Vegas, a city that is essentially ten times the size of my little town, with many variables and challenges completely foreign to central Virginia. Why is that better? Because to affect real change, the plan has to be applicable anywhere. As idyllic as Lynchburg is as a potential model (we have much greater opportunities for cooperation and unity here), there are many other significant factors that must be considered in the development of “universal” healthcare. This let’s us compare the growth in two different petri dishes.
Beyond the medical arena, he serves to demonstrate the fundamental problem with our political system. Because here is another example of a phenomenal person on par with the Tom Colby’s and Kevin Leslie’s and Dora Lam-Himlin’s of the world, all physicians with whom I had the honor to learn from at the Mayo clinic, each of which has an inherent brightness that throws a shadow across the offices of our leaders, if for no other reason than people of this quality will never participate in the current system. And these are the very folks we actually want in those jobs. But you will not see Dr. Damania quitting what he is doing to run for office. And why would he? His intellect and wisdom and empathy are neither requirements for any political position, nor are they helpful in negotiating a campaign that demands villainizing an opponent and creation of a platform of promises based only on their ability to be fed to an eager public, as opposed to affecting meaningful change. And yet all the creative ideas and potential solutions won’t remedy the fact that we rely on the lawmakers to actually implement the plan. We gotta fix healthcare, but we will have to fix the system before we can.
Luckily, he is appears poised to fight for that change, and unlike me with my wordy rants, he may be genuinely effective. And that is what has lit my enthusiasm up like a plasma torch. OK, so it’s a man-crush. Whatever. Tune in, listen up, share the love! (Follow him on Facebook, or whatever your preferred social media)
Oh, and that play is tonight too!